Stumbling on this thread and seeing Bob's picture on post 47 got me to open the hood and check my 2006 RAV4 V6 which had the VVT hose "upgrade" done in 2010. Sure enough rubber hose!
After mclass555's sour experience at his dealer (and with me initially) with his 2015 I kinda wanted to stop in at my dealer in Westerly RI for a comparison anyway, so two days ago I took in the underhood forum pictures of both the rubber-center and all metal lines installed on V6s.
The building is only a few years old and has what seems to be the norm these days, and drive-in service bay with 3-4 service writer desks between the entrance and the customer lounge with flat-screen TV (would any self respecting dealer have a boob tube?) a coffee, tea etc. dispenser and sink counter, and comfy looking couches. They weren't busy - one lady in the lounge and a couple customers talking to the other writers.
After some discussion with the service writer as to why my '06 hadn't gotten the metal line in 2010 he asked, "Are you having any problems?" I said, "No but when you do you lose your oil and blow your engine, something I don't want to do!" Then after reading some stuff on the screen when I said the TSB had be extended to 2021, he went back the the parts dept and showed me a piece of rubber hose, saying, "You may have found your pictures on a forum but this is official from Toyota." I said it didn't make sense and left.
Went back yesterday with Junebug's old & new picture from post 34.
Wrote the 15772-31030 part number on it under the metal pipe and told the same writer, "This is what I want." He sent me back to the parts dept where the same guy who'd produced the rubber hose the day before asked, "What year is your car?" I'd already looked the metal pipe up online for a price comparison and under a "Does it fit your vehicle?" link found it doesn't fit an '06, so I said, "If I say '06 you'll say it doesn't fit, so I'll say '08." Saying the part number was not legit for my '06 he said it was $35.69 and he could order it but never had before. I exclaimed, "Of course not, they NEVER break!" Knowing I'd seen it online for half that price I declined ordering one and went to wait for my wife to pick me up. That's when it got interesting.
While waiting I ran into a guy who must be the service manager. I was very impressed with him the last time I was in for the rear suspension re-re-recall
and told him so again. He thanked me and asked what brought me in this time. Showed him the side by side picture and said I was wondering why the all-metal pipe wasn't being used to replace the hosed (pun intended
) one. He agreed that made sense especially since with not having to remove and replace the hose between removing and reinstalling the pipe, there'd be less labor cost involved.
He guessed the answer was probably that there are two different suppliers. (More on that later.) Toyota went back to the hosed one's supplier and got them to upgrade the hose so that became the fix. They then switched suppliers during MY08 but left the earlier years with the first supplier.
His explanation made sense so, noting that the 3.5L V6 is used on many 06-08 Toyota & Lexus models, I said, "So when the hose fails Toyota loves it because they get to sell a new engine or a new car!" He said they'd actually had one fail that required an engine rebuild and Toyota paid for it all because the customer had had the hose upgrade done.
I thought that was a pretty interesting admission.
Now I'm looking the metal pipe up online and finding sources in the $17-18 range but with shipping/handling of $8-10. I does look like there is indeed a another supplier since I found a cross-reference to a Dorman 917-023. That part is listed for 2006-2012 RAV4 V6 as well as Avalon, Camry etc. Haven't found it in stock yet but this eBay seller Dorman 917 023 Engine Oil Feed Line | eBay
shows a side-view picture of it on the engine.
Hope this lengthy post clarifies the issue if needed.